Culinary Camp Offers Kids a Chance to Live Their Dream

Middle schoolers work with dining services to receive hands-on kitchen training.

Published in FSD C&U Spotlight

By 
Steven Johnson, Associate Editor

While summer vacation for many kids means endless hours in front of a television or computer screen, one group of middle school children recently got the opportunity to live out their culinary dreams. In June, 11 kids took part in a five-day, four-night on-campus culinary camp held by Virginia Tech Dining Services. Those who took part got to learn the basics in cooking techniques, as well as instruction in food and kitchen safety, nutrition, food budgeting and dining etiquette.

Virginia Tech Dining Services Training and Project Coordinator Jessica Filip says the event was an opportunity to teach kids how to make better food choices by showing how easy and fun it can be to prepare their own meals. “Dining Services’ goal was for the participants to learn preparation of food, the joy of cooking and ultimately retain what they learned for a lifetime,” Filip says. “The program was designed for the campers to come away stimulated and confident in using their newfound knowledge and share it with their families.”

Filip says the idea for the camp began when Ted Faulkner, director of Virginia Tech’s Dining Services, suggested the department hold a summertime activity where kids could learn about the culinary arts.

Program participants were taught how to do easy recipes, such as pizzas, ice cream and smoothies, which Filip says would not require special equipment or their parents’ help. Other activities included tours of the school’s local garden and dairy farm, as well as a visit to an area grocery store where chefs taught campers how to select fresh produce and meats.

On the last day of camp, students were able to apply the lessons they learned by catering a luncheon for their parents.

Having received positive feedback about this year’s program, Filip says plans are in the works for similar types of events to be held next year, with the possibility of a day camp as well as one where high school teens can receive more advance culinary training.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The School District of Philadelphia and Baltimore City Public Schools are the latest districts in the Urban School Food Alliance to switch to compostable plates.

The move to the eco-friendlier products will save 19 million polystyrene products from landfills, according to a news release .

Schools often use polystyrene products due to their low cost. Polystyrene trays cost on average around 4 cents apiece, while compostable plates cost an average of 12 cents each. The Urban School Food Alliance’s collective buying power enabled them to create a compostable plate that costs...

Managing Your Business
allergies

Guy Procopio got a taste of the future when Michigan State University hosted a Boy Scout event in 2015. Out of 10,000 participants at the East Lansing, Mich., campus, Procopio, the director of dining services, received 1,400 requests to meet special dietary needs, including a wide spectrum of allergies, gluten intolerance or insensitivity, and other new or unusual hyper-specialized diets.

This dining trend isn’t letting up, at least in America: Food allergies in children increased approximately 50% from 1997 to 2011. They now affect one in 13 children in the United States,...

Industry News & Opinion

Students of Broward County Public Schools in Florida were treated to a special meal by celebrity chef Aria Kagan during lunch last week.

The chef and former contestant on “The Next Food Network Star” prepared her farm-fresh pesto panini in front of students at McNicol Middle School in Hollywood, Fla.

Her visit was part of the district’s Chefs Move to Broward initiative, through which a chef from nonprofit Wellness in the Schools visits district cafeterias each month to prepare a healthy meal. The chef then teaches cafeteria staff how to make the dish so it can be...

Managing Your Business
woman alone in kitchen

In a post-Harvey Weinstein world, there’s an awful anticipation over which star’s worst-kept secret will be outed next. The outpouring of claims of sexual harassment and abuse helped popularize the #MeToo social media campaign, encouraging women to share their stories and spurring allegations against upwards of 60 high-profile men. In October, the movement’s momentum hit the foodservice industry. Since, behemoths such as Mario Batali, John Besh and Todd English were forced to confront accusations of alleged sexual harassment or misconduct.

For many women, the scope of the industry’...

FSD Resources